Gooey dollops of beige fufu dunked by hand into bowls of steaming sizzling, reddish-brown beef stew. Curried jollof rice, as orange as Halloween pumpkins, packed filled with tender shredded hen breast and aromatic fried onions. Barely candy chin-chin—tiny fried squares of dough, crisp on the surface and scone-like on the within.
As a first-generation Nigerian American rising up in a small Central California city, I treasured these meals from my father’s homeland, which he would put together for my siblings and I throughout occasional weekend dinners collectively. As a child, I used to be entranced by the cooking—and the inevitable tales that may come up through the cooking—about schoolboy pants pockets filled with cooked candy potatoes for a noon snack; or dried beef, recent mangoes, and melons tossed from a mom’s fingers out a practice window into the expectant arms of a son protected at boarding faculty, unable to return dwelling as a result of civil battle. However it's a easy Nigerian dish with an American twist that involves thoughts for me now once I lengthy for my father’s cooking: plantain scramble.
My favourite Saturday mornings as a baby have been those when the outsized starchy bananas my father had purchased on the Albertsons grocery retailer a couple of days prior have been lastly ripe. We’d sit, mesmerized, as he ritualistically peeled again the pores and skin on every plantain, sliced the fruit at an angle to create the right oval form, after which slid every slice right into a cast-iron pan effervescent with sizzling canola oil. When the frying was completed, he would drain the oil from the pan into his “oil mug,” and start dicing meat and greens—onions, bell peppers, breakfast sausage, or leftover ham.
He would then crack almost a dozen eggs right into a bowl and whisk them up. Subsequent, he would warmth up an electrical skillet and drop all of the elements onto the nice and cozy floor: first the fried plantain slices, then the meat and greens, and at last the whisked eggs. Then, he would flip the temperature down and canopy the skillet with a lid as we waited in anticipation. Every time he made the dish, it appeared extra flavorful, and ideal, than the time earlier than.
I not too long ago requested my father if the recipe was one thing he grew up with in his hometown of Kano. He confirmed what I had suspected: The scramble was for us, his American children. He had eaten his fair proportion of fried plantains as a baby, however eggs would have been costly for his household when he was rising up within the Sixties.
I attempt my finest to mimic my father’s plantain scramble for my circle of relatives now. Like him, I solely make the dish on uncommon events and once I want comforting. I like to organize it alongside a rice cooker filled with steamed white long-grain rice, drizzled with soy sauce. Just lately, when information of the #EndSARS movement in opposition to police brutality in Nigeria unfold throughout social media, I discovered myself considering of my cousins whereas roaming the produce aisle on the grocery retailer. I grabbed a trio of plantains and tossed them into my procuring basket. I took them dwelling to ripen.